Olivia “Liv” McGill, a 5-foot-9 sophomore guard from Hopkins (MN) High is ranked as the second-best sophomore in Minnesota by Prep Hoops and is the #11 player in the country in the Class of 2024, according to ESPN.
McGill has scored in double figures in five of six games this season and is averaging 13.2 points per game as the Royals are off to a 6-0 start.
McGill averaged 11.9 points per game last season as a freshman, scoring in double figures in twelve of 16 games. She had a career high of 20 points against Eden Prairie. Hopkins finished 16-1, losing to eventual state champion Chaska 67-62 in the Class AAAA state tournament semifinals, snapping a 78-game winning streak.
Hopkins will be one of the top teams in the country this year as the Royals return all five starters. Maya Nnaji (19.0 points per game), ESPN’s #9 senior in the country, will play at Arizona and fellow senior Amaya Battle, who is headed to Minnesota, averaged 12.9 points. Battle is #38 senior by ESPN. Taylor Woodson, who averaged 16.3 points per game, is the #27 junior in the country. Stanford commit Sunaja “Nunu” Agara is the #39 player in the country in the Class of 2023, according to ESPN and averaged 11.7 points last season.
GopherHole caught up with McGill after their 91-59 win over Appleton East to learn more about recruitment and upcoming sophomore season.
GopherHole: You play on such a talented team. What is it like to play with this group in a big game like this against a very talented team and you were able to handle them pretty easily?
Liv McGill: It’s great to play with other good athletes and people even better than me just to help me get better and give me confidence. This was a great team tonight. We came to compete and we were focused.
GopherHole: Obviously, you had a great season last year, but got upset in the playoffs by Chaska. Is that something that you have talked about being a big motivating factor to get back to the state tournament and win it all this year?
Liv McGill: Yes. We’ve definitely been working every day, and the summer, too to take revenge. Take what’s ours, so that’s all I’m going to say.
GopherHole: You mentioned the great teammates that you have. How much do you think even just playing against these girls in practice helps you as a player?
Liv McGill: It helps me so much. I feel like practices are harder than the game because we compete against each other and just go so hard that the game can come easier for us as a team.
GopherHole: Do you happen to know where you are ranked on ESPN right now?
Liv McGill: I don’t know. I’m ranked somewhere, but I don’t know the exact number.
GopherHole: Do people ever bring that up to you?
Liv McGill: Not really. I don’t think people know that I’m ranked, so that’s also something I also like.
GopherHole: What colleges are you hearing from right now?
Liv McGill: I’m hearing from a lot of schools, but mostly Louisville, Maryland, Minnesota, Florida. Those are just a couple.
GopherHole: I know that Minnesota was here to watch your team play and Amaya Battle is going there. Does that make you look at the home state school a little differently?
Liv McGill: Yeah, it does because it would be great to play with my former teammate, but I still have awhile to make my decision.
GopherHole: Coach Whalen and her staff had made getting the top in-state girls a priority. She has Battle and Mallory Heyer of Chaska, Mara Braun of Wayzata and Nia Holloway from Eden Prairie. I don’t know how well you know the other three girls, but they are four of the top five players in the state. Does that make you look at Minnesota a little differently as well?
Liv McGill: Yes, of course it does. I love how she is recruiting them so hard and showing why Minnesota is the way it is right now. It makes me look at it in a different way, also because my teammate committed there, so there must be something there that is worth it.
GopherHole: Do you have any offers right now?
Liv McGill: Yes, I have a lot of offers. I can’t really think of all of them off the top of my head. I have between ten to 15. Louisville, Florida, Minnesota. Those are just a couple of the big ones off the top of my head
GopherHole: What was the first one?
Liv McGill: Louisville.
GopherHole: So that one is always going to stick out. How did they find out about you?
Liv McGill: AAU. Just watching me this summer and coming to our open gyms that we have had.
GopherHole: To be honest, wherever you decide to go to college, you are going to have a great experience and great education. What are going to be the main things, since I know that it still a ways away, that are going to make you pick School A over School B or C?
Liv McGill: Just making me feel welcome on and off the court. If something ever happens or basketball doesn’t go my way, I want the coach and my teammates to still be there for me and just be a part of who I am. Family is a really big part.
GopherHole: Do you come from an athletic family?
Liv McGill: I come from an athletic family. My mom played volleyball. My sister played volleyball. My dad played basketball. Almost everybody in our family played sports.
GopherHole: Any of them play at the collegiate level?
Liv McGill: My sister played volleyball (at Lipscomb) for a while, but then she tore her two knees.
GopherHole: What is it going to mean to play Division I basketball?
Liv McGill: It is going to mean a lot to me, just to know that I have worked so hard and my dream has always been to go to a D1 college anywhere, so that is really going to feel good. The work is not going to finished still when I step on the court as a freshman. I’m still going to have a long way to go.
GopherHole: What do you like to do away from the basketball court?
Liv McGill: I like fashion, so I’m really big into reselling shoes. Talking about fashion and I also like to listen to music and just talk about music.
GopherHole: Is fashion something that you would like to pursue in college?
Liv McGill: Of course. I want to be an entrepreneur and start my own clothing line one day, so that is in the back of my head and is really something that I want to do.
GopherHole: So you have to be the best dressed on the team, right?
Liv McGill: Of course. I “am” the best dressed on the team.
GopherHole: Did you get a chance of go to any college campuses at all this fall or go to some football games?
Liv McGill: I had my first visit was Minnesota and my second visit, I went down to Florida and did that whole thing, so that was pretty good. It was a nice experience, because it was out of state and I had been talking to Florida since they had been recruiting me since like seventh grade, so it was good to finally go on campus and meet the coaches in person.
GopherHole: What things are you really working on to continue to improve yourself as a player?
Liv McGill: Just my all-around game, specifically my jump shot and my IQ and continuing to be a leader and helping to impact the game in so many different ways more than just scoring.